Thursday, March 16, 2017

While I Wasn’t Looking, Someone Privatized My Senator

It’s no surprise our private health care system is by far the most expensive system in the developed world, anywhere from three to ten times higher in the U.S. than in Great Britain, Canada, France, or Germany. That suits insurance companies—although they wouldn’t even exist under universal single-payer care—and it’s a gravy-train for pharmaceutical companies.

But privatizing a Senator? My Senator? That’s a bit of a stretch.

Just about everything privatized costs more, so maybe not so much of a stretch as it first seemed. Take water as an example: private companies charge up to 80 percent more for water than municipalities. Nestle, as an example, buys water for about 1/100 of a penny per gallon and sells it back for ten dollars. Their bottled water is not much different from tap water, yet Nestlé Chairman Peter Brabeck lit up the internet by publicly declaring that water as a right is ‘extreme’ and claims water is a foodstuff best left in the hands of private investors. Water as a foodstuff? Go figure.

But in this sell-off of assets, when did my Senator become a salable asset? Apparently that happened when Congress itself opened the door to lobbyists paying our legislators to legislate. I know it’s an old-timey point of view, but I always thought we elected them to take care of that chore and their salaries, prestige and unbelievable perks were sufficient compensation.

But no, the main name-recognized Senators rake in a lot of dough, some as much as $24-25 million in an election cycle, Now if someone paid you or me that kind of bread every six years, I guess we’d be more than a little tempted to pick up the phone when they called and listen very carefully to what they wanted.

So, all this talk about integrity and changing Washington and draining the swamp—by either Republicans or Democrats—is out-and-out bullshit. My Senator (and yours as well) is on the take.

Which is why we have a military that gobbles down 52% of our national budget and can’t win a war, a national infrastructure that’s falling in on itself, a financial sector that extorts its customers and enables tax avoidance, an economy where the rich get rich and the poor get poorer, along with a populace that so distrusts their government that they threw the reins in disgust to a serial liar.

And that’s the good news. The bad news is that these jerks are never going to willingly hand back their eagerness to be bribed and corrupted into whatever the corporate elite who actually run this country want. I don’t think I’m the only guy who looked the other way while all this was happening. We all have our weaknesses and mine is believing in America and its founding principles.

But America’s founding is foundering.

Society is slowly slipping below the surface from forty years of neglect and the impact of a corporate class that thrives on criminal negligence. Multi-billion dollar settlements for illegal business activities are regularly looked upon as merely ‘the cost of doing business’ in America and we poor saps in the bleachers look on as corporations break sales and profit records, pay no taxes and get away with it all. Trust in government is down around our ankles at 15% and that’s all there is, folks, between social order and anarchy.

It certainly is no comfort to find that those who represent us continue to be paid off to sell us down the river.

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